Physical therapy (or physiotherapy), often abbreviated PT, is a health care profession.
Physiotherapy, often referred to as physio, uses physical methods, such as massage and manipulation, to promote healing and wellbeing. Physiotherapy treatments are often used to help restore a person’s range of movement after injury or illness.
Physical therapy has many specialties including cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, neurologic, orthopaedic and pediatrics. PTs practice in many settings, such as outpatient clinics or offices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, extended care facilities, private homes, education and research centers, schools, hospices, industrial workplaces or other occupational environments, fitness centers and sports training facilities.
In patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), there is a chance to control symptoms and prevent joint damage with medications called DMARDs (or ‘disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs’). DMARDs are now the #1 recommended treatment for RA and rheumatologists-medical doctors who specialize in arthritis and related diseases- prescribe them to most patients they see. However, more than half of RA patients in BC do not see rheumatologists. Instead, patients see their family doctors, who seldom prescribe DMARDs. Our project looks at how to encourage family doctors to prescribe DMARDs to RA patients. Since pharmacists are experts in medications, and since physiotherapists are professionals in giving physical exams, we believe they both can help. We will use pharmacists to find RA patients who are not taking DMARDs, review patients’ symptoms and other medications, and decide if DMARDs should be considered. To help them decide, the pharmacists will arrange for patients to see a physiotherapist, who will check if patients have inflammation in their joints, a sign that DMARDs are needed. The pharmacists will talk to the physiotherapist and then contact patients’ family doctors to discuss and provide information on DMARDs. Our project will measure whether more family doctors start prescribing DMARDs once they have support from pharmacists and physiotherapists.